I’m sitting at my computer, writing. It’s 3:30 in the afternoon and there is a sudden and torrential downpour that seems to appear out of nowhere. I’ve just poured a cup of tea and for a moment I’m enjoying the beauty of the rain and the wet wind that brought it in as I sip on my Earl Grey. Then suddenly it dawns on me that Eli, my 12-year-old, is getting off the bus from school right about now and will be drenched to the bone after running the three blocks from the bus stop to our house. OMG, this is a job for Super Mom!
I bolt away from the computer, grab my keys, wallet and rain boots and run out to the car to save my son. Sure there have been numerous rainy days when I’ve been at work or in meetings at this exact hour. Granted he has managed to run home in the rain on multiple occasions and not met with any serious harm. But it is this moment, I convince myself, that is the make or break moment of motherhood. “A good mother,” I think to myself, “Will race to her son and whisk him out of the elements and into her warm, dry, yellow Fiat.”
I will get to the bus stop before my poor helpless little boy has to step into the cold, harsh rainy reality that awaits him. As I pull around the corner, I see the bright yellow school bus approaching. “Yes,” I think with great pride in myself and awe in my maternal instincts. My son steps slowly, cautiously off the bus. The other children follow him close behind. Surely he will see my yellow and black bumble bee vehicle stopped right next to the school bus. He looks at me and I think I see the deep disappointment in his eyes. “But I’m here,” I want to say to him. “I got here just in the nick of time.”
Then like a flash he is off, racing away from me towards home. I honk. He continues to run, as if he is literally trying to avoid me. “I’m faster than him,” I think, and I speed up to catch him. I roll down the window. “You don’t want a ride home?” I ask pleadingly. “Nah, mom. I want to run in the rain with my friends. See ya at home,” he says, and I watch him as he laughs and dances under the big wet droplets of rain with his pals.
I think I’ve forgotten what it feels like to dance in the rain, to appreciate the adversity of inclement weather, to know that it’s okay to get wet sometimes because you are going to dry off in the end and the sheer act of getting wet can be fun and satisfying . Sometimes we grown-ups worry too much about frizzy hair and drenched sneakers. As greeting card mogul Vivian Greene once said, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Thanks for reminding me, Eli. I love you to Pluto and back.
Debra Rich Gettleman is a mother, blogger, actor and playwright. For more of her work, visit unmotherlyinsights.com